Daisy Coleman, Featured in Documentary 'Audrie & Daisy,' Dies by Suicide at 23
By Antoinette Bueno
Daisy Coleman, a sexual assault victim who spoke openly about her story in the 2016 Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy, has died by suicide. She was 23 years old.
Coleman's mother, Melinda, shared the tragic news in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
"My daughter Catherine Daisy Coleman committed suicide tonight," she wrote. "If you saw crazy messages and posts it was because I called the police to check on her. She was my best friend and amazing daughter. I think she had to make it seem like I could live without her. I can't. I wish I could have taken the pain from her! She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it's just not fair. My baby girl is gone."
The organization Coleman co-founded, SafeBAE, whose mission is to end sexual assault among middle school and high school students and to help survivors, also shared a statement with ET on Wednesday about her death.
"As all of our supporters know, Daisy has fought for many years to both heal from her assault and prevent future sexual violence among teens," the statement reads in part. "She was our sister in this work and much of the driving force behind it. ... We are shattered and shocked by her passing from suicide. She had been in EMDR therapy for 2 years, working on her triggers and healing from the many traumas in her life. She had many coping demons and had been facing and overcoming them all, but as many of you know, healing is not a straight path or any easy one. She fought longer and harder than we will ever know."
"But we want to be mindful of all the young survivors who looked up to her," the statement continues. "Please know that above ALL ELSE, she did this work for you. She loved talking to young people about changing the culture and taking care of one another. Much of her healing came from each of you. She was so proud of the work we've done and loved seeing so many fierce young activists push for change in their schools and among their friends. She would want young survivors to know they are heard, they matter, they are loved, and there are places for them to get the help they need. And she would want everyone else -- peer allies, educators, parents, legislators, religious leaders -- to come together to help stop sexual violence and help save teen lives. As advocates we know survivors of sexual assault are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who haven't experienced sexual assault, and that is why we will keep dedicating ourselves to this work in her legacy. There's no question that she would want that."
Coleman was 14 years old when she alleged in 2012 that she was sexually assaulted at a house party in Missouri after drinking alcohol. Her accusation led to a felony sexual assault charge against teenager Matthew Barnett, which was later dropped, though he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. He claimed their sexual encounter was consensual. The Netflix documentary focused on the backlash Coleman and her family faced in her small town and the cyberbullying she received amid the case.
Audrie & Daisy also told the story of 15-year-old Audrie Pott, who was sexually assaulted at a party in California in September 2012. After nude pictures of her were posted online and she experienced bullying, she killed herself.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).